By Clemence Muchedzi
Community Water Alliance (CWA) – an organization that advocates water governance issues said allowing rampant water shortages on the part of responsible authorities in the country is ridiculous and should be a thing of the past.
The sentiments come following complaints by residents of Mufakose over water shortages in the community.
Community Water Alliance Chairperson, Paul Saiti described water shortages as a thing of the past in the country. The organization provides civic education, monitors and observes water services delivery, disseminates information, provides capacity building and does research.
Saiti said the organization contributes to the realization of the human right to water sanitation by adopting a human-rights based approach to development in the water sector and synchronization of laws as well as coordinating institutional frameworks.
“It is irresponsible and ridiculous for authorities to allow this continuous water shortage, particularly in urban areas. Dams are almost full to capacity countrywide. We demand a review of the law, policies, and regulations on water, the environment and climate. We set structures in the communities as a paralegal to stand for the rights of people in terms of water and sanitation. We set public water points centres for social cohesion, which say no to violence at points like boreholes. Any violence at water points is reported to Zimbabwe Republic Police Victim Friendly Unit.”
On the mechanisms that should be in place to ensure that the voice of people and communities suffering consequences of water shortages are taken into consideration, Saiti said “Regulations should be clear and make it mandatory for services providers to involve citizens and shun discriminations.
“Communities should be involved in the formation of policies. There is a need to enhance the capacity of vulnerable communities to demand accountability from duty bearers.”
Mufakose residents complained over the violation of the Constitution which states that every person has the right to clean and portable water. In an interview, Mai Tanyaradzwa said “We can no longer bear the perennial water shortages. The situation is dire.
“At the boreholes, huge crowds gather to fetch water without masks and no social distance is practised.
“We now fear for our lives because COVID-19 might knock at our doorstep.”
Ruvimbo Kufa, a Form Three student at Mhuriimwe Secondary School said girls are the ones who mostly bear the consequences of water shortages in the community.
“The constitution states that every person has the right to safe, clean and potable water but in our community, it is a different scenario. Water is disconnected on taps on Fridays and comes back on Monday. We walk for long distances to fetch water.
“We are supposed to read and do our homework but we are unable to do so because most of our time during the weekend is consumed in search for water,” she said
Mai Natsai said due to water shortages the community is exposed to health-hazardous diseases like typhoid and cholera, and social unrest is also imminent.
“We learn to conserve every drop of water but it’s not healthy. We live in fear of the outbreak of typhoid and cholera in this high-density suburb. Due to huge crowds at boreholes quarrels escalate and violence ends up imminent thus creating social unrest .”